Is Rail Shipping Gone for Good or Can It Remain an Option for Northwoods Businesses?

November 2, 2012

Wendy Gehlhoff

Florence County Economic Development

Local Businesses Get a Chance to Offer Their Input

Florence, WI ---- Will fuel costs be $5 or $6 per gallon in the near future? Are they likely to decline? These questions and the dramatic impact that they can have on shipping costs to and from local businesses make it hard to plan for the future. Nine Northern Wisconsin Counties, including Florence County, have joined together in May to form the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission. The Commission believes rail service is crucial to maintaining and supporting future economic growth in the region. In order to quantify rail business demand, the Commission has been working with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) to develop a Rail Market Study to gather current and potential rail use data from our region’s business community. The data from this survey will be shared with rail operators in our region in order to pursue options for more reliable, cost effective and secure rail service for businesses in Northern Wisconsin and UP of Michigan border Counties.

The Railroad User and Potential Railroad User Surveys will be mailed to businesses in mid-November. These surveys will collect commodity, shipping mode, location and destination data as well as suggestions and comments. Survey responses will be collected by mail or online and should be completed by the end of November.

Now is the time for our businesses to have a voice as to whether rail is a viable shipping option for our region in the future. The Florence County Board and Florence County Economic Development encourage the businesses that receive this survey to respond and return it to the WisDOT or complete the online survey. Any business that does not receive a survey and would like to participate can call Wendy Gehlhoff, FCEDC Director at 715-528-3294 or e-mail for assistance.

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